The appeal of Apple devices is that they just work. Period. And particularly together, Apple gadgets integrate and work with each other seamlessly. That’s why folks got excited when Apple released AirTags. AirTags aren’t the first trackable tag devices to hit the market—I think that was Tile—but as they’re made by Apple, they’re bound to elevate the concept and provide a new level of ease in finding your stuff. In short, the AirTags concept is designed to be a chic, clever and handy way to keep track of bags, keys and other items.
These days some folks are also using them inside bigger things, like to keep tabs on cars in theft-prone areas, their kids or pets. I broke down and bought an AirTag to see what they are all about—I recently picked one up. To clip to our garage key, which is always being misplaced. Here’s the inside scoop on everything you need to know.
Watch my video answering the most common AirTags questions
1. What Do AirTags do?
AirTags are Bluetooth-enabled devices that allow you to track the tag’s position from your phone or device.
There’s no listed range for the devices, but since they’re Bluetooth, the range will depend on your Bluetooth signal range, so probably maxing out at 240m/800ft. While you’re within that range, you can track the tag’s location through Apple’s Find My app.
2. How do AirTags Work?
When you’re within 30 feet of the tag, the app will show you an arrow in the direction of the tag and tell you how far away you are.
You can also have the tag make a small beeping noise to help you locate it.
If you’re more than 30 feet, the tag can make use of Bluetooth connections closer to it on other people’s phones to help orient you. The information sent is encrypted, so those other phones won’t have access to the tracker or know the location of your tag; it just piggybacks the signal.
It’s a pretty clever way of solving the distance problem, but it does rely on others with phones being nearby, so while airports and big city situations will be a piece of cake, if you’re out of range where no one else is nearby, you’re out of luck until that changes.
3. Can You Be Tracked With an AirTag?
One of the early concerns with trackable tags was the possibility that they could be used to track others without their knowledge. Since launch, Apple has added some features that should prevent this from happening and warn you when there’s a tag nearby.
Once you’ve paired the AirTag with your phone, it can’t be tracked from another account, so only you can track your own tags. Secondly, your phone will alert you with a push notification when there is an unpaired (to you) tag close by and alert you that someone else could be monitoring that tag. Also, when the tag has been out of contact with its designated paired device for an extended period of time, it will begin to beep, in theory, alerting those nearby.
4. How Long Do AirTags Last? And can you replace the batteries?
Apple’s AirTags are powered by a replaceable CR2032 lithium battery–often called a “coin” battery—and Apple says the an AirTag should last about a year before the battery needs to be replaced. To replace the battery, unscrew the silver cap from the AirTag, swap batteries, and screw the cap back in place. It’s actually good to know that this replaceable battery will give your AirTag major longevity.
5. Are Apple AirTags waterproof?
Apple AirTags have an IP67 rating, meaning that they’re waterproof up to a point, and should be fine with anything apart from being submerged in deeper water for more than 30 minutes.
6. Do you need accessories for AirTags?
One puzzling oversight in Apple’s otherwise well-thought-out product is the lack of a loop or notch or hole so that they could be attached to anything. While it’s understandable that many users would likely use the tags inside a bag or pocket and not need that kind of attachment, there are certainly reasons to have one. Having the tag on the exterior of your luggage saves any issues with baggage handlers finding your beeping luggage and having to open it… and I’m not entirely sure you can hear an airtag beeping if it’s packed in your luggage anyway.
It’s a good idea of you’re going to use it for luggage to clip it to a special luggage tag like the ones I found from Belkin. And that brings up a great point… there’s now a major accessory market that has built up around the AirTags. You can buy a keyfob, loop, or other accessories to hold the AirTag, either from Apple themselves or from a third-party dealer.
I also picked up this nice yellow leather holder that’s perfectly made to clip to your keys It comes in a bunch of different colours too.
7. Are AirTags worth it?
AirTags are a pretty handy device if you’re the sort of person who misplaces things or if you’re traveling a lot. Knowing if your bag is close by can ease your mind or help you decide whether you need to escalate things with the airline.
The AirTags can also be placed on a pet’s collar or child’s backpack or pocket, allowing you to quickly locate them should they not be where you expect them.
8. Are Apple AirTags Expensive?
The price point might be a bit hefty if you’re not the kind of person who would need to use them regularly. (pause) They sell for about $40CAD/$29USD. Apart from broadcasting their location, the tags don’t really do much, so they might not be a good purchase if you aren’t prone to losing things. They also only work with Apple devices, so if you’re an Android user, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
Finally Apple does also offer a 4-pack of AirTags for a slightly better price ($129CAD/$99USD) than buying the single tag, so if you need a set for the family, it’s a good bargain.
Why AirPods are Crackling? Watch my video
Apple isn’t known by the way for its bargains… and in fact a lot of folks are frustrated after shelling out big bucks for Airpods Pro and then having mysterious problems with them… I look at these odd issue with AirPods and what you can do about them in the video above, plus if you check out the comments on that video you’ll see I’m far from alone. If it is time to upgrade or truly replace your AirTags, you can shop them from Amazon below or find them on sale at Walmart.
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